#33: Marth

Age: 24

Location: Chicago

When did you discover anime? Share as much as you remember. My early exposure to anime when I was a kid was pretty much through Toonami and Pokemon, basically finding it on TV. I think I would go on after that to find out that manga existed through Shonen Jump. This was back when Dragon Ball Z was on TV and in Shonen Jump, so it worked out for me since I was generally more restricted from watching TV at that time. High school was when I started watching more anime in particular because I could start looking online, which is what I consider to be more of a formal beginning.

What was that second beginning like? Did you just log on and find anime again right away? I call it a second beginning because of how I approached it. In the beginning, my anime fandom was just passive consumption of what was available on TV. I was just taking what was coming at me.

However, around high school, I got my own laptop and that was the point when I started to actively look for series myself. Watching anime had always been an interest of mine since starting to watch Toonami, but suddenly I was in control of what I was watching.

I started with the stuff I knew, series that had appeared in the Shonen Jump magazines I’d read like Hikaru no Go or Death Note. I started getting into watching airing anime at about the time Code Geass was ending and that’s pretty much what I consider to be the starting point of the fan I am today.

What appealed to you about anime when you first discovered it? Honestly, I was too young at the time to really have a good answer. I probably just thought it was cool. I was really into Gundam and Power Rangers, so maybe I just had a thing for giant robots.

What would you say was the most popular anime at the time? I’d say probably DBZ or Pokemon at that time, but I can’t really remember.

What was it like to be a part of anime fandom at the time? I didn’t really try to participate in the fandom at the time. I was content with my personal enjoyment. Even when I started going online to discover anime, I just watched alone and never really tried to engage in conversation in comment sections or chats.

Where online did you consume anime fandom? Were there legal channels yet? When I started out, I didn’t know much about the legal channels, so I downloaded anime illegally. I actually tried to participate myself in the fansub community. I’ve always been a stickler for English grammar, so I tried to do a lot of proofreading for subtitles.

Of course, that’s changed a lot. Today, I watch anime legally.

Can you tell me about the first time you made a friend through anime fandom? I didn’t really start participating in communities until I joined the anime club in college. That’s really when I started being more social about things, with group viewings and trips to the local anime convention. Before then, I had a couple of friends also discovered an interest in anime, but we had already been friends for a while at that point. The first friend I made through fandom was probably a blogger I met after I started my own blog. I asked him about his blog as I was just getting started and we’ve basically been chatting about anime ever since.

You went from not participating in fandom to blogging about anime. What changed and when? In college, around 2011, I made the random decision to start a blog because I thought it might help me improve my writing. At the time, my main hobbies were solving Rubik’s Cubes, playing video games, and watching anime. I didn’t think I had the expertise to really write about Rubik’s Cubes and I only really played one game at the time, so I decided to write about anime. From there, I started reading other people’s posts and that’s when I really started getting into the fandom.

What’s the biggest contrast between fandom then and now? I don’t think I have an interesting answer for that since I wasn’t really into the fandom in the beginning. I’ve definitely become a lot more exposed to vastly different opinions since I started, which I’m willing to guess is more a result of the fact that I’ve become more of a participant than a result of the fandom itself changing. It could go either way. Of course, availability has also gotten a lot better in the present, which has been pretty nice.

Marth can be reached on Twitter

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